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New Senate Bill Aims to Extend Medicare Telehealth Waivers By Two Years

By February 14, 2022No Comments

Source:  mHealthIntelligence

By Anuja Vaidya

The bill proposes extending Medicare reimbursement for a range of telehealth services, including substance abuse treatment, for two years after the public health emergency has ended.

– A new piece of bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the US Senate that aims to extend access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

Dubbed the Telehealth Extension and Evaluation Act, the bill was introduced by US Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Todd Young (R-IN).

The legislation includes provisions that would allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend Medicare reimbursement for several telehealth services for two years after the COVID-19 public health emergency has ended. These include coverage for services provided by critical access hospitals, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and reimbursement for virtual substance abuse treatment.

The bill also includes a provision to extend waivers allowing the prescription of controlled substances via telehealth.

In addition to proposing extended telehealth flexibilities, the legislation also commissions a study on the impact of those flexibilities. The study results will help Congress decide which telehealth flexibilities to make permanent following the pandemic.

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